Palm Beach is a little town on the Atlantic coast of Florida where Lilly Pulitzer is the dress code, sunshine is the climate and luxury is the way of life. This past February, I had about six hours before I had to be at the airport in Miami and a Mustang for the day so after dropping off S at the Fort Lauderdale airport, I drove north for about an hour and found myself in paradise. There are so many beautiful places in the world, but only a special few take your breath away and just steal your heart forever. I have officially added Palm Beach to that list.
I would like to preface the rest of this post by saying: I am absolutely obsessed with bright spaces. Cream walls, pastel accents and a flood of sunlight. Experts say that bright and pastel colors have a positive impact on your emotions so based off that theory, Palm Beach is the municipal embodiment of pure happiness. In other words, I was in heaven. From its historically inspired architecture, to its effortless elegance, Palm Beach is like a chapter from Chanel Cleeton’s novel When We Left Cuba come to life. Driving through the residential streets, it looks like all of the houses have been frozen in time. Their timeless elegance and European inspired facades just exude luxury. Something you would have expected to see in Cuba 70-100 years ago. Each one perfectly kempt and each more beautiful than the last.
My first stop was the famous Breakers resort. I had heard of its luxury and exclusivity but I just had to see it in person. As I pulled up, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Was something this beautiful possible? I walked through the main foyer and wandered the ornate hallways, cautiously peering into the magnificent ballrooms being prepared for events. I was nothing short of speechless. I could just imagine early 20th century elite, comprised of oil and railroad tycoons and their company, arriving at the (then) new Palm Beach Inn, dressed in ball gowns and tuxedos for a night of dancing and luxury.
Then I continued driving south and parked in a side street off Worth Avenue. I wanted to see what the luxury shopping street was all about and I found an unexpected surprise. While Worth Avenue itself is comprised of bright, modern facades filled with picture perfect designer shops, each alley way felt like I had walked through the wardrobe into Narnia; I had been transported to a different world. It looked as though I had stepped into different historical versions of European cities. One street took me down the cobblestones of Rome while another felt like a plaza in Barcelona. They literally took my breath away and it felt like a fairytale. At that moment my greatest regret was underestimating this magnificent town and diminishing it to a four hour drive-through. I was ready to move here, not leave for the airport.
I wasn’t going to waste any time being overwhelmed by the town’s beauty and spent every moment soaking up all I could see, to reminisce about later. Palm trees reached the second floor shops, ornamented tiles adorned pathways, balconies overflowed with flowering plants and vines, exteriors boasted bright facades, and plaza squares encompassed bubbling fountains. To add to the magic, it was a very quiet, sunny afternoon and I was essentially alone, wandering the streets on a private adventure.
All too soon my time was up. I got back in my rented mustang, opening the roof for a sunshine-fueled drive and cruised along the seawall. Even this protective barricade seemed to have been styled to fit in. With beautifully carved railings in an artfully weathered cement wall surrounded by manicured landscaping, the seawall was an attraction in itself.
I must have worn pastel for a week after coming back to reality, although I was probably in denial about having left. So every time I close my eyes I can smell the salt of the ocean, feel the warmth of the radiant sun and smile because I know one day I will come back to the town of pastel dreams.